Slide Show: “Four Things We All Need to Know About Colorado’s Fiscal Challenges”

Earlier this fall, a team of fiscal experts made the presentation below to the Colorado Reform Roundtable, a broad coalition of organizations working toward a long-term solution to Colorado’s fiscal crisis.   The presentation provides a solid foundation for common understanding of the fiscal challenges the Roundtable intends to address.  The four pillars:

1) Referendum C has a lasting impact on revenue limits;

2) Constitutional constraints combine to reduce legislative flexibility;

3) State spending is low and constrained; and

4) State revenues are inadequate and volatile.

On slide 11, you’ll find succinct descriptions of TABOR, Gallagher and Amendment 23.  At slide 10 there is this analysis of the interplay of the three:

The main effect of Amendment 23 has been to provide the state funds to backfill for local property tax revenues, which have stagnated due to the interaction of the Gallagher and TABOR amendments.

Put another way, K-12’s increasing share of the state’s general fund has been more about financing local property tax relief (required by TABOR and Gallagher) than about making meaningful new investments in our schools.

Check out slide 13 for a startling statistic regarding how the magnitude of this erosion in local funding for schools compares to the amount of state general fund currently being spent on schools.

Many thanks to Wade Buchanan at the Bell Policy Center, Carol Hedges at the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, and Henry Sobanet at Colorado Strategies for their collaboration on this excellent presentation.

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